Promised civil service reforms set to take effect

By APP
Published: February 15, 2020
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Reforms will do away with tedious, obsolete structure, promote merit. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Reforms will do away with tedious, obsolete structure, promote merit. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has passed another milestone by reforming the decades-old structure of the civil services with the objectives to transform it into a merit-based, depoliticised cadre of professionals.

The PTI, during its elections campaigns, had pledged to bring about wide-ranging reforms in the system. It had promised to introduce a system of internal accountability to encourage the competent officers and weed out inefficient people.

The civil service of Pakistan had seen many reforms but the efforts by the incumbent government would be another step towards transforming the service to ensure that the best officers reach the top positions.

A notification in this regard might be issued next week, an official source in the establishment division told APP on Saturday.

The source disclosed that for the first time, the reforms were being made in the promotion rules of the Civil Servants Promotion Rules, 2020, because, earlier, no promotion rules were framed and only a few policy memorandums were available in the scattered form.

“Now, such rules will deal with the promotion of civil servants in a comprehensive manner as the bar of ‘promotion threshold’ has been raised,” said a source.

CSS aspirants to first undergo ‘screening test’

For the first time, submission of declaration of assets made mandatory, to ensure that the promotions were objective, transparent and merit-based. Collective judgment of the promotion board had been made more relevant, which means more marks for the board– from 15% to 30%.

Besides, the Civil Service (Retirement from Service) Rules, 2020, to review the performance of civil servants had also been finalised, which entailed mandatory performance review of all civil servants after 20 years of service.

Under the reforms, no PAS/PSP officer would be allowed to serve for more than 10 years continuously in a province/Islamabad. Transfers to other provinces or Islamabad would be made on completion of 10 years.

The OMG officers must compete two tenures of three years each in federal government in two main ministries of diverse sectors. Under this initiative, BS-19 officers should have the opportunities for obtaining foreign qualifications and trainings in selected areas of specialisation.

For PSP officers, the training requirements include more practical aspects relating to law and order as well as security. Specialised courses in counterterrorism, counterintelligence, investigation, crime prevention and counter-extremism and radicalisation are made essential.

The BS-21 positions must be filled with officers, who are generally considered capable of reaching and manning BS-22 positions.

The cabinet had already approved the performance management reforms, which had the salient features like performance audit through agreements to be signed between the minister concerned and the prime minister. All the 40 ministries/divisions will enter into the performance agreements, starting from July 1, 2020.

A pilot phase, in this regard, is being launched on Monday, February 17. It involves signing of performance agreement by the prime minister with 10 ministries for the third and fourth quarters of financial year 2019-20.

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